09/19/2017, 15.55
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More than 40 million slaves and 152 million forced children labourers in 2016

The data are found in two reports by the International Labour Organisation, the Walk Free Foundation and the International Organisation of Migration. Forced marriage is one form of modern slavery. Three quarters of all victims are women and girls.

New York (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Last year, more than 40 million people were treated as slaves and about 152 million children were forced to work, this according to two reports released today by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the Walk Free Foundation in partnership with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).

According to experts, at least 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, as forced labourers as well as sex and domestic workers.

With respect to children, most of those aged 5 to 17 engaged in child labour were found in Africa (72.1 million), followed by the Asia-Pacific region (62 million).

"Forced labourers produced some of the food we eat and the clothes we wear, and they have cleaned the buildings in which many of us live or work," the groups said in a report released on Tuesday.

Forced marriage, which is widespread in Muslim majority South Asian countries, is included for first time in worldwide statistics.

Some 15.4 million people, mostly women, are forced into marriage, a figure that probably underestimates the problem. More than a third of them are under age at the time of marriage.

The new estimates also show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall figure.

Women represent 99 per cent of the victims of the sex industry and 84 per cent of forced marriages.

An estimated 25 million people were in forced labour at any moment in time in 2016. Out of them, 16 million people were in forced labour exploitation in the private sector such as domestic work, construction, agriculture.

The causes of exploitation range from poverty to the need to repay debts. The report notes that the problem is widespread in all countries.

The second report released today on child labour contains frightening figures: 152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys – are subject to child labour and account for almost one in ten children around the world.

Approximately one third of children aged 5 to 14 engaged in child labour are outside the education system, 38 per cent of children are in hazardous work aged 5 to 14 and almost two-thirds of those aged 15-17 work more than 43 hours per week.

These kids cannot get an education and build a better future for themselves.

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